Beware of Illegal Printer Cartridges:

May 28, 2024

Beware of Illegal Printer Cartridges: A Call to Action from ETIRA-  ETIRA model protest letter

At the recent The Recycler Live conference, Javier Martinez brought to light a pressing issue facing our industry: the prevalence in the EU market of non-OEM newbuilt printer cartridges that fail to comply with EU regulations. Javier Martínez presented eye-opening research and a stark warning to consumers and industry professionals alike.

The Scope of the Problem

ETIRA’s research reveals that one-third of printer cartridges sold in Europe are non-compliant with EU standards. These newbuilt cartridges, often manufactured in China, lack proper labelling and safety information, making them both illegal and potentially hazardous. The environmental impact is staggering, with these non-compliant cartridges contributing to 420,000 tons of e-waste annually in Europe alone. Moreover, they are responsible for causing early damage to 20% of printers, exacerbating the e-waste problem.

Legal and Environmental Hazards

These newbuilt non-OEM cartridges do not meet critical EU regulations such as CE marking, WEEE, RoHS, and REACH. They often omit essential labels like the waste bin icon, misleading consumers about the appropriate disposal methods and increasing environmental risks. By avoiding these compliance measures, manufacturers reduce costs but at the expense of consumer safety and environmental health.

The Importance of Consumer Education

Educating consumers is crucial in distinguishing between legal and illegal cartridges. ETIRA recommends remanufactured OEM cartridges, particularly those made in Europe, as the best legal and environmentally friendly option. These cartridges comply with all EU regulations and offer significant environmental benefits. By shifting to remanufactured cartridges, we can reduce CO2 emissions by up to 45-60% and lower consumer costs by as much as 60%.

Taking Action

ETIRA calls for increased vigilance and regulatory enforcement to combat the sale of these illegal cartridges. Consumers and businesses should demand proper documentation and report any non-compliant products to authorities. ETIRA has a model letter, available upon request, that members may send to public bodies, to insist that public tenders comply with all EU legal requirements. By ensuring that the cartridges we purchase and use are legal, we can protect our environment and promote sustainable practices within our industry.


The findings underscore the urgent need for regulatory compliance and industry and consumer awareness. The proliferation of illegal, non-compliant newbuild printer cartridges poses significant environmental and public health risks. We can drive positive change in the industry by choosing remanufactured OEM cartridges and supporting compliant practices. ETIRA remains committed to advocating for a safer, more sustainable future in the toner and inkjet remanufacturing sector.

Together, we can make a difference. Let’s act now to ensure the cartridges we use are safe, legal, and environmentally friendly. For more information and to stay updated on our initiatives, visit our website at

Translate »